Where do I begin, as the news finally comes alive in an era of accusations, guilt, remorse, and pain about sexual abuse. This is not just our Church that faces all too-much scandal, but every other institution that deals with young children, our most precious commodity that we must protect at all costs.
So many innocent children, many now grown adults, have awakened the past where those we’d trusted harmed too many of our youth, some from infancy to maturing adulthood as teenagers. What kind of silent screams are held deep in the recesses of these young people that so few of us never heard. Now, for the first time we are aware of their suffering; and all are sharing the pain.
At ordination, the priest promises obedience to his bishop, but he also promises, or should himself, to uphold the dignity of Holy Mother Church, through Jesus Christ and sacrifice for all their flock. There are many innocent souls, mostly consisting of those who are too young to understand the attempts to morally corrupt them, and lead them into confusion and future suffering to many throughout their lives.
Perhaps all of this has tampered with the faith of so many parishioners wherein trust in the Church of their childhood now is tainted with dark signs that may never see the light of day as the Church hopes she can change. Augustine said; “he knew that although every Christian must have a personal faith that is not dependent on outward rites and traditions, he also belongs to the universal Church. Christians cannot leave their church and live on their own as if nobody else is good enough for them. There may be good reasons for establishing new congregations, but believers ought to be in fellowship with others and not cut themselves off as if nobody is quite as good or as pure as they are.” The point here is when the tough gets going, especially within the ranks of the Church, remember Christ established it, and His Holy Spirit continues to guide, protect, and teach us to adhere to the True Teaching of the Magisterium and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt. 16: 17-19).
There might be fear that this ensuing scandal may become an impetus to lead many away with distrust and fear of worse things to come. We can not allow that to happen. “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.” - words that were spoken to me during a daughter’s emergency to a hospital that promised devastating after-effects. It was during a vision and it has become my Mantra.
Distrust, fear, and confusion must be replaced with healing. If any time in the history of our Church where healing was needed, it is now. We have survived Schisms, Heresies, Hierarchical mistrust from some previous popes, and attacks on Catholicism during the Reformation. We still are here, strong in faith and in the presence of the Holy Spirit as a safeguard to our Sacred Traditions. No matter how disheartening this period of darkness appears, there is always light ahead; and that light is Jesus Christ and the Church He commissioned with Peter in charge.
Pray for those priests and deacons who are committed to their ordination and are ready to support you and bring Christ into your lives. Support the new men entering holy orders, and the men and women entering religious orders; all who have answered God’s call to serve Him and ultimately us.
Yes, the scandal in Pennsylvania, and other parts of the world, have put the Church at the top of a “I told you so” attitude from so many who would find one small interruption to become a national headline. Our Church will always be under attack and the powers of Hell shall never defeat Her. Satan, in his constant fury to bring us down has only lies and deceit. We have the Holy Spirit and that will always stand as a Rampart against his attacks.
A future cleric, at the imposition of the bishop’s hands, takes an oath of obedience. It isn’t just a response of I will, but a promise to Almighty God that holds with it accountability that is everlasting, as long as he wears that collar and understands its meaning. That promise is an ongoing commitment of all the future priests, deacons, and religious who promise to uphold God’s commands of sharing love and protecting the flock they minister to.